The Full Monte (Montecristo Monte Conde)

2015-09-12 18.41.49I guess our reputation is beginning to precede us.  We were sent a few cigars to review from Famous Smoke Shop.  We were asked simply to give a fair review and to post a link back to their website.  Naturally we agreed.  This is our general practice when being given product to review, such as when I was given two house special cigars from Thomas Hinds Tobacconist in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  We make no promise that we will like what we’re given, and if we don’t, we’ll say so!  But as Steven has emphasized many times, cigars are a subjective experience, even if aficionados tend to agree on preferences, and I’ve been known to hate prize-winners and love cheap over-the-counter products too, so we will still tell people where we got the product and how much it sells for.

The Montecristo Monte Conde (Robusto size) is a slick, chocolate coloured stick, five and a half inches in length and with a 48 ring gauge.  So it’s a slightly smaller robusto for those of us who enjoy a lot of flavour in a little package.  I was pleased by the quality triple cap with its natural twist, which you can clearly see in the next photo, and I looked forward to what I expected to be a clean cut.  I was also attracted by the slick Golden Age of Hollywood label design.

2015-09-12 18.42.03That matte chocolate-shaded Ecuadoran Habano wrapper smelled of delicious dark chocolate also.  I understand that the stick contains both a Dominican Olor and a Nicaraguan Corojo binder, with Dominican long-fillers.  For those who don’t know, most cigars only contain one binder, so this is definitely a break from tradition.  It was seamed but not at all veiny.  I clipped that cap with my single guillotine cutter and, sure enough, it was as clean as advertised.  The pre-light draw suggested more of a cocoa and espresso element.

The first draw was clearly espresso, nut, and and the taste that lingers in the mouth of fresh-turned farm soil in the spring.  I found that earthy element a pleasant surprise because there was no hint of it in the scent of the wrapper note.

2015-09-12 18.42.48About half an hour in it settled into a more nutmeg and leather essence while the chocolate-espresso faded into a delightful undertone.  I found it strongly suggests that Cuban clay terroire in its wrapper also, so that’s a good thing, but the top notes certainly weren’t Cuban and it inhaled slightly sharp and just a little acrid in comparison.  An hour into the smoke and I found that I was buzzing a little and my lips were tingling, so this is rather strong on the nicotine as well; definitely not for the beginner.

To my surprise and delight, the smaller robusto lasted an hour and twenty-seven minutes.  I relit it once before I let it go out, which tells you that I was really enjoying it.  It finished strong, tasty, and with more of that earthy tone I detected at the beginning, leaving my mouth tingling.

I suppose that such enjoyment is only to be expected from one of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 cigars; the No. 2 version of the Monte, a torpedo, made ninth place on their top 25 list of 2013, receiving a 93 rating.  But it should be noted that the Montecristo No. 2 made the number one spot in the same year with a 96 rating, proving once again that if you’ve got access to that unique Havana tobacco, you should go for it.

My rating supports the high opinion of the CA folks.  It really was a great cigar and I’ll get it again!

Stars - 4 and a half

2015-09-12 18.43.09I understand that a few of the cigars we received are exclusive to Famous Smoke, but this is not one of them.  However, Famous Smoke does offer a variety of options: a box of 16 robustos for $140.40 US, a pack of five robustos for $43.88 US, a box of 16 torpedos for $136.80 US,  a box of 16 toros for $135.36 US, a box of 16 condes for $132.48 US, and as part of a sampler of two of the top-rated Montecristos for $29.95 US for six cigars.  You can also get them at Cigars International for $132.48 US for a box of their conde robustos and $43.48 US for a five pack of the condes.

That’s a lady’s perspective!

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